Swim Lessons:

Gospel-Shaped Personal Formation for a Drowning Generation

Ministry leaders working with Generation Z consistently find that many young people cannot grow spiritually or minister to others because of the burdens of anxiety, decision paralysis, screen addiction, exhaustion, and more. They need personal formation. Swim Lessons anchors growth in these vital foundational life skills in the gospel, to be explored in a small group community.

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You’ve likely seen the statistics, read the articles, and heard it from the mouths of the young people you know: Generation Z is highly anxious, constantly distracted, overwhelmed by endless options, and exhausted by constant busyness. And most don’t know how to escape these cycles.

As a result, those who minister to this generation find that developing them toward spiritual growth and investment in others is like adding weight to a crumbling foundation. They need personal formation in foundational life skills.

This is both a troubling reality and an incredible opportunity for the body of Christ. Christians can help build young people toward mature, healthy adulthood from the ground up—with the gospel forming the foundation.

About the authors

Samantha Barnes

Samantha Barnes has served as a staff member with Cru for over 10 years and is currently one of the team leaders at the University of Arkansas. She and her family love living and riding their bikes in the Ozarks of Arkansas.

Tim Casteel

has served in college ministry for over 20 years, and is currently one of the team leaders for Cru at the University of Arkansas. He and his wife, Mandy, have 5 kids. Tim is a passionate fan of books, indie music, college football, and homemade cookie dough.

Andy Cimbala

Andy has a passion to disciple college students. He and his wife Melissa work with DiscipleMakers in Pennsylvania, leading Bible studies and mentoring leaders. Andy is the author of The Relentless Fight: The Power of the Gospel in the Fight Against Sin.


That’s what Swim Lessons seeks to do. Over six lessons, small groups will explore how the gospel, with its core truth that you have value that is given, not earned, can guide us:

  • From Anxiety to Grace-Inspired Peace
  • From Digitally Distracted to Focused Faith
  • From Exhaustion to Intentional Rest
  • From Self-Absorbed to Others-Focused
  • From Endless Choices to Embracing Limits
  • From Chaotically Busy to Purposefully Productive
  • A bonus lesson digs deeper into the gospel message itself.


This guide is great for Christians and non-Christians, and includes notes for leaders.

If you’re looking for the Additional Resources page, click here!


  • Type:


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  • Dimensions:

    8.5” x 11”

  • Binding:

    perfect bound

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